No styles, no systems, no rituals, no lineages, no masters, no labels, no belts, no katas, no uniforms, no dogmas;

Only the process of self actualization & personal expression of truth through functional combative movement and fitness.

On a purely physical level, we share how to individually and collectively use all of our natural tools as well as extended ones, offensively and defensively in a strategic and tactical manner and in all ranges of combat.

We're put through functional physical fitness training where we learn to push ourselves through our own perceived limitations. We also have much to offer on nutrition, health and optimum performance.

On a more cerebral level we learn about the psychology of violence, fear, stress & confrontation management skills, deescalation strategies and holistic survival tactics.

As the mind navigates the body; by challenging personal self defense dogmas and individual & core belief systems, personal growth and evolution occurs.

On a human level, we learn about the ripple effect and the moral, legal, and ethical consequences of our chosen actions while self examining our darkest emotions. We are encouraged to question everything, to learn to think for ourselves, to be more accountable and research everything we learn and to be open and responsive to life without judgment.

On a personal level, the training can make you face and slay your own demons.

Everything shared here is highly encouraged to be individually researched, to “absorb what is useful, add what is specifically of your own and disregard the rest.”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Making friends... lmao...

On my first visit to Sydney Australia in 2007, I met several amazing human beings on that trip. I do on every trip really, but this time around, I am using a specific example of a great friend I made and the way in which we officially met. It's quite funny because there aren't many vocations I know of where people become good friends as such soon after... something to be said about 'human contact' lol...

The man I am referring to is Joe Saunders of Progressive Defense and I'll let him recount the day in his own words, taken from

This video is from Richard Dimitri's 2007 seminar in Sydney.

While demonstrating his Shredder concept, Rich was asked how well it would work against a grappler. Nevel one to let words alone prove his point, Rich asked the most experienced grappler in the room, in this case, our own Joe Saunders, to do a live, no compliance drill with him. The drill would be that Joe had to submit Rich doing anything he wanted while Rich would only use the Shredder concept.

After a highly unsuccessful round 1, Joe had a second chance in round 2, this time starting standing up. Despite managing to catch Rich with a hip throw that badly aggravated an old shoulder injury, Rich continued fighting and would have removed Joe from his site had it been a real altercation. Watch for yourself:

This is a great example of the survival mentality I was referring to in the recent article "Permission to Survive"

Despite being taken by surprise, put in a disadvantageous position with a much larger person on top of him, and suffering a serious injury, Rich contniued to fight and survive, that's a lesson for us all.

Joe Saunders

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Senshido International New Zealand

Senshido International team members and Protect founders Phil and Athena Thompson offer Safe for Life seminars in Auckland for Rape Prvention Education.

Senshido for the Association for Women's Total Advancement & Development.

Demonstrating with my good friend Aladdin Abo Bakr El-Gendy

Aladdin Abo Bakr El-Gendy and I assissting along side Adora Spencer who was lecturing on dream building.
Lecturing on the prevention of violence.
Hanging with my bro Aladdin Abo Bakr El-Gendy who assissts me and translates for me when necessary.

Working mainly with women's organizatons and movements in Egypt has proven to be a challenge due the hard core rooted beliefs and cultural differences.  However, even with the challneges presented we've managed to reach countless people making a considerable difference bringing forth education and knowledge in self defense for self development through Television, magazines and seminars.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Killing Ants

Once upon a time . . . (HA!  I’ve always wanted to start a story like that and I just did) when my son was just a wee lad I let him go outside to play with some of his friends.  He couldn’t have been more than about 6 or 7 so I kept an eye on him and his friends from the window.  I could see them but more importantly I could hear them.  There were some other parents who I trusted that were outside too so I felt comfortable with him being out there.
Suddenly I realized I couldn’t hear them anymore.  I went outside to investigate.  When I opened the door about 6 young boys were all in a circle looking at the same point on the ground.  As I got closer I saw what they were looking at – an ant trail.  A trail of ants going about doing whatever it is that ants do.  But one young kid was stepping on the ants.  This disturbed me.  So I got their attention-
Me: “Hey, what are you guys doing?”
Kid: “Killing ants”
Me: “Why?”
Kid: - no reply  (actually all 6 or so kids including my son had this blank stare on their faces)
Me: “Let me help you guys out.  You are probably stepping on and killing those ants because they are smaller than you and frankly because you can.  Well, all of YOU are smaller than me and I could easily step on you like you are stepping on these ants – because I can or because I think its fun.  Would you like me to do that to you?
Kid: (clearly looking worried) “No”
Me: “Those ants were doing nothing to you and not bothering you at all.   None of you have the right to step on them and kill them.   And just like you don’t want me to come and disturb you and step on you, they don’t want you disturbing them or stepping on them.  Just because you CAN take a particular action doesn’t mean you SHOULD take a particular action.  You are being bullies to the ants because you are stronger and bigger.  But I can bully each and every one of you because I’m bigger and stronger than you all – combined.  Should I bully you?  Would you like that?
Leave the ants alone.  We clear guys?”
All the Kids: “Yes Sir”
Me: “Cool.  Enjoy the day, gentlemen”
And I went back inside and looked out of the window at them.  Yep, they were shook up.  Good.
This was many years ago.   Sometimes I wonder if I was too harsh on them, because as they dispersed they were clearly affected by what I said.  But I look at my son now.  He’s older and he has a compassion for life and people and a balance I didn’t have at his age.  I hope for the other kids I spoke to that day something clicked for them and somewhere down the line they can pass the lesson on that I passed to them. 


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Stripping away the excess...

The Way of 1000 Masters

I'd like to make a case for stripping away the excess.

I have been thinking about this for some time now. It has permeated every aspect of my life. Not sure how exactly it started, it could have been planning a large cross country move, looking around at what appeared to be a mass of "stuff" which I had no idea of its use. You know what I mean, those boxes in the closet that store years of knickknacks that never get used. Or need to be used, for that matter. Sure, some of it was culled, and a still large portion was moved some 3000 miles east. Its a constant process anyhow.

This task sparked some thinking about how to cull this excess in other ways. What sort of boxes labeled "misc" did I have stacked in the closets of my brain? To be honest, I'm not sure I had ever really given that too much thought. I am fairly certain that I had always been content in believing that most stuff that went into my head probably rattled around there for a time, then dropped out if it wasn't used. Not so, I now believe.

A very key component of what keeps me drawn to Senshido is the focus on development. That to me means evolution. A process of opening up to new paths. A realization that some pressure is being exerted, and so a course correction is tried as a step forward. That pressure can come from the physical or spiritual can ignite the imagination to promote creativity, it can challenge the ego forcing some deep self realization, or it can push you physically to react more dynamically in life. I now believe that this can't be done effectively without being open to culling the excess. To better illustrate this idea I'll give you some examples from my own life.

I use to be a collector. I had some antique knives, then some of the popular "tactical" and custom knives. The idea of a big move forced me to reevaluate the importance of a collection of steel that I never really used. A tool that is never used just becomes unnecessary and a burden. So I sold everything I had save for one or two. Now I'm down to just one locking pocket knife and some others that aren't worth anything so they just hang out in a drawer. Once I had done this I began to think more about why I carried a knife in the first place. What was it? A weapon? A tool? Was I carrying it to cut random things I might encounter or in case I was one day suddenly attacked, to magically whip it out and what...stab people? It seems obvious, I was carrying it for no real reason. How many times had I used it? Looking back it was usually for opening boxes, at home. Yeah...when I was out and about I'd use whatever to cut stuff, scissors, keys...hardly ever pulled out a knife. Mostly because I was aware that other people around me might freak out (might? no, having learned from experience, they DID feel uncomfortable when I'd pull a knife out to cut things) when I used a knife. So why carry it? Had I ever been in an altercation and needed a weapon? Sure, part of my job put me in that sort environment, but never did I honestly picture using a pocket knife as part of my job. It was an impractical tool, useless for my purposes.

Outside the obvious relation to the popular subculture of "tactical" gear (knives, military inspired clothing, firearms and tactics training, etc) I also see the stripping away of collections as being applicable to martial arts, self defense and even reality based training. Those familiar with Senshido are likely aware of the differences between sport arts and reality. There has been plenty written on this blog and the Senshido forums in regards to pre-contact psychology, the nature of confrontations and the importance of not only avoidance but also of "out-birthing" violence all together. I won't attempt to address that, but feel that one aspect that has drawn me to Senshido is the constant evolution. I am less interested, or should I say, place less primary focus on the physical aspects of a confrontation. It is a personal decision that I have come to over the years while on this journey. The almost active stripping away of certain ways of thinking about "fighting". Even the term "fighting" in a real personal protection context carries its own baggage. The idea has been to redefine what is needed in my every day life, and how to make that applicable to someone that is just starting on this journey.

The RBSD and "tactical" world in general have come to adopt certain terms, and thus ways of thinking, that I have personally tried to do away with in my own development. I can't yet say this approach is good for everyone, as I am an extreme case for learning by experience. Like most people with this type of learning style, quite a bit of trial and error is involved before the final path is worked out. One term I personally advocate for removal from my vocabulary is "tool box". I don't believe I have a "tool box" in the context of personal protection. I know when a high stress dynamic situation breaks I revert to gross motor concepts. In the context of firearms I've found that I am good at basic draw and point during pretty basic training. I've worked it so many times that it comes close to natural. However, throw in a more dynamic attack at close range and I have yet to use that push off technique from my so called "tool box" they talked so much about in the academy. I guess what I am saying is, I react the way I react, rather than fight natural reactions and create a hypothetical place to store pre-designed reactions to dynamic situations, I focus on working the concepts that time and again offer the most successful outcome. I want to be general when reacting to the unknown, not specific. This is something I've learned during my culling process. Doing away with the "tool box" is where I've started.

In the end, its all about the unknown amount of baggage we all carry with us. The personal baggage can often times overrun us and control how we approach life. By taking stock and culling through what is there, we can work to let go of the stuff we don't need. I've found it to be a very powerful tool to spark change in my life. Give it a try.